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Archive for Iran

Newsline: Iran proposes locations to Saudi Arabia for foreign minister meeting

The Iranian government has proposed to Saudi Arabia three locations for a meeting at foreign minister level, Iran’s foreign minister said on Sunday, citing the latest messages with Riyadh since the countries agreed to re-establish ties. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told a news conference in Tehran his country had agreed to such a meeting, although he did not list the three locations or say when such a meeting might take place. Amirabdollahian also said Tehran was ready for the mutual reopening of embassies. (https://neuters.de/world/middle-east/iran-proposes-locations-saudi-arabia-fm-meeting-2023-03-19/) Iran and Saudi Arabia, the region’s Shi’ite Muslim and Sunni powers, agreed on March 10 to re-establish relations and re-open embassies within two months after years of hostility. The deal, brokered by China, was announced after four days of previously undisclosed talks in Beijing between top security officials from the two rival Middle Eastern powers. Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran in 2016 after its embassy in Tehran was stormed during a dispute between the two countries over Riyadh’s execution of a Shi’ite Muslim cleric.

Newsline: Iran’s top diplomat pledges upcoming prisoner swap with US

Iran’s top diplomat claimed Sunday a prisoner swap was near with the U.S., though he offered no evidence to support his assertion. (https://keyt.com/news/2023/03/12/irans-top-diplomat-claims-prisoner-swap-near-with-us/) American officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment about his remarks. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has made similar comments in the past about possible deals with the U.S. on frozen assets abroad and other issues that never came to fruition. He made the remarks Sunday to Iranian state television. The U.S. State Department and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Newsline: Iranian foreign ministry eyes prisoner swap with Belgium

Iranian foreign ministry said on Monday that it was open to a prisoner swap with Belgium after the latter’s Constitutional Court upheld an exchange treaty in a case that could see a convicted Iranian diplomat switched for a jailed Belgian aid worker. An Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson said the way was now open to execute the prisoner exchange pact. “With the recent development, we hope to see an opening in connection with the case of this diplomat,” the spokesperson said. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2023-03-06/iran-open-to-prisoner-swap-with-belgium) Aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele was arrested on a visit to Iran in February 2022 and sentenced in January to 40 years in prison and 74 lashes on charges including spying. Brussels called that retribution for a 20-year jail term given to Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi in 2021 over a foiled bomb plot in the first trial of an Iranian official for suspected terrorism in Europe since Iran’s 1979 revolution. Belgian lawmakers cleared the treaty in July but it was held up by legal challenges from an exiled Iranian opposition group.

Newsline: Iran expels two German diplomats

Iran on Wednesday declared two German diplomats as personae non gratae and ordered them to leave the country. The move came after Germany expelled two employees of the Iranian embassy in Berlin last week in response to Iran sentencing a German national to death. “The two German diplomats are being expelled due to Germany’s irresponsible interference in Iran’s internal and judicial affairs,” state media quoted Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani as saying. “The Islamic Republic of Iran will act firmly against excessive demands.” (https://neuters.de/world/middle-east/iran-expels-two-german-diplomats-tit-for-tat-move-2023-03-01/) Germany has called on Iran to revoke the death sentence handed out to German-Iranian national Jamshid Sharmahd on charges of “corruption on earth”. The verdict can be appealed. Iran accuses Sharmahd, who also has U.S. residency, of heading a pro-monarchist group accused of a deadly 2008 bombing and planning other attacks in the country.

Newsline: Iran to handover Afghan Embassy in Tehran to Taliban

The Iranian Foreign Ministry is set to hand over the Afghan Embassy in Tehran to the Taliban, citing unofficial sources reported Khaama Press. Iran will officially hand over the embassy to the Taliban in the coming days according to an Afghan diplomat who has been in contact with the officials of the Iranian foreign ministry. This comes after the Taliban-run foreign ministry stated in a letter that it had appointed Mohammad Afzal Haqqani as designated ambassador to Tehran, reported Khaama Press. The letter noted that Haqqani, as the first secretary of the embassy, will be in charge of the diplomatic mission in Iran. Initially, Haqqani had travelled from Tehran to Kabul and then returned with his letter of appointment as head of the Afghan Embassy in Tehran. However, the Iranian Foreign Ministry had not accepted Haqqani as the new ambassador to Tehran, reported Khaama Press. (https://news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/World/20230224/4042924.html) Now, a serious decision has been taken in this regard the Afghan diplomat said. The Taliban-run administration has neither internal legitimacy nor international recognition. So far, no single country in the world has recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. Iran is the third country to join Pakistan and Russia which handed over the Afghan embassies to the group a few months ago.

Newsline: New French ambassador to Iran seeks release of citizens

France’s new envoy to Iran told President Ebrahim Raisi that Tehran had to immediately release seven French nationals detained in the country, the foreign ministry said after the envoy handed his credentials to the Iranian leader this week. Nicolas Roche was pictured this week in local media meeting Raisi with the state news agency IRNA saying that the Iranian president had criticised France’s Islamophobia and that Roche had been mandated to lift misunderstandings in relations. Describing the policy as “reprehensible”, Deputy foreign ministry spokesman Francois Delmas said that by continuing to hold its citizens, Iran’s relations with France and Europe could only worsen. (https://neuters.de/world/middle-east/new-french-envoy-seeks-release-citizens-talks-with-irans-raisi-2023-02-09/) He said the new ambassador had made it clear to Raisi that the French citizens should be released immediately and that the conditions they were being held in were unacceptable. Ties between France and Iran have deteriorated in recent months with Tehran detaining seven French nationals in what Paris has said are arbitrary arrests that are equivalent to state hostage taking.

Newsline: Head of security at Azerbaijan’s embassy in Iran killed in shooting

A security official was killed and two people were wounded when a shooter opened fire at Azerbaijan’s embassy in Iran, Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry said on Friday. “The attacker broke through the guard post, killing the head of security with a Kalashnikov assault rifle,” it said. The suspect entered the embassy with two young children and may have been motivated by “personal issues”, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, citing the police chief. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/guard-killed-shooting-azerbaijans-embassy-iran-2023-01-27/) Video shared on social media showed what appeared to be broken glass and damage to a door inside the embassy building. Police in Tehran said they have arrested a suspect and are investigating the motive behind the attack.

Newsline: Iran’s top diplomat vows ‘reciprocal’ response to EU

Iran on Sunday warned the European Union it would take “reciprocal” measures after the European Parliament voted to list the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group. “The parliament is working to place elements of European countries’ armies on the terrorist list” of the Islamic republic, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Twitter. “The European Parliament shot itself in the foot,” Iran’s top diplomat said, adding that the response would be “reciprocal”. Later asked if Iran would consider withdrawing from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or expel United Nations nuclear inspectors, Amir-Abdollahian said all options were on the table. If European diplomats “who have no experience in diplomacy… do not correct their positions, every possibility is conceivable”, he was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA. (https://news.yahoo.com/iran-vows-reciprocal-response-eu-124333692.html) Amir-Abdollahian and Guards chief Major General Hossein Salami attended a closed-door parliament session on Sunday morning to discuss the European Parliament’s move. Members of the European Parliament voted on Wednesday to include the Guards on the 27-nation bloc’s terror list in “light of its terrorist activity, the repression of protesters and its supplying of drones to Russia”. The vote is non-binding but comes with EU foreign ministers already due to discuss tightening sanctions on Iran next week.

Newsline: German embassy in Tehran seeks clarity on citizen’s arrest

Germany has taken note of the Iranian report and the embassy in Tehran is working to clarify the situation, a source in Berlin said. Iran has detained a German national for taking photos of “sensitive oil centres” in its southern province of Khuzestan, Iranian daily Jam-e Jam reported. “The German national was detained while taking photos of Aghajari oilfield in Khuzestan province,” the Jam-e Jam said, without elaborating. The Iranian judiciary had yet to comment on the report. (https://neuters.de/world/middle-east/iran-arrests-german-taking-photos-oil-centres-jam-e-jam-reports-2023-01-17/) Iran has been at odds with Western powers including Germany over what it calls their interference in its internal matters during months of anti-government protests sparked by the death in custody of an Iranian-Kurdish woman in September.

Newsline: Iran top diplomat eyes restoration of Saudi Arabia ties

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian expressed hope during a visit to Lebanon Friday that diplomatic ties between Tehran and Riyadh could be restored through dialogue between the two regional arch-rivals. Amir-Abdollahian told a news conference in Beirut “we are ready to restore ties,” and such a move “would have positive repercussions on the entire region.” (https://news.yahoo.com/iran-top-diplomat-hopes-restoration-150208109.html) He also hailed a potential rapprochement between Iranian ally Syria and Turkey, after their defence ministers met last month. Amir-Abdollahian said the first steps should be resuming talks on reopening Iran’s consulate in Jeddah and Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Mashhad for citizens interested in religious travel. Iran and Saudi Arabia back opposing sides in various conflicts in the region, including in Syria. Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran in January 2016, after protesters attacked its embassy in Tehran and consulate in second city Mashhad following Riyadh’s execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.